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The prospect of a wonderful match lies ahead of us as two of the best teams in PSL 2018 get ready to take on each other. Peshawar Zalmi, the defending champions, have found some form and are now up to third place on the league table. Multan Sultans started the tournament well and have regained their terrific form after a small blip. Both these teams will know the importance of this match as it comes against a potential competitor in the knockout stages of the tournament.
After getting some momentum in the tournament with a nail-biting win, Peshawar Zalmi just demolished the Lahore Qalandars. Th win for Peshawar Zami was set up by their bowling attack led by Hasan Ali. While Ali was the highest wicket-taker with three scalps to his name the other bowlers also played their part.
Liam Dawson took three wickets as well and found some excellent purchase off the surface. Wahab Riaz contributed with two wickets while Sameen Gul provided the early breakthrough.
The Zalmi bowling attack is looking really dangerous and should send a warning bell to all other teams. It is also not just the Peshawar bowling that has done well in this tournament.
Dwayne Smith is the current second highest scorer in the tournament with 148 runs to his name and has been the backbone of the Peshawar Zalmi batting. He will want to continue his fantastic run against one of the strongest bowling attack of the Pakistan Super League.
Peshawar Zalmi though will have to think about the batting around Dwayne Smith. Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman will depart for Bangladesh duty soon and that will leave a big hole in the lineup. Kamran Akmal has struggled to rediscover the touch that saw him lead the batting charts last season and Mohammad Hafeez seems to be unable to play at the required T20 tempo.
A couple of cameos from Darren Sammy has kept them in the game but that is not something that Peshawar Zalmi will want to rely on.
Kamran Akmal, ADS Fletcher , DR Smith, Mohammad Hafeez, Riki Wessels, LA Dawson, Hammad Azam, Wahab Riaz, Umaid Asif, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul.
If Peshawar Zalmi is coming into this tournament hot on the heels of a massive victory then Multan Sultans are in the exact same position. The match between the Multan Sultans and the Quetta Gladiators was completely one-sided.
Imran Tahir and Junaid Khan extended their lead at the top of the wicket-takers tally and ran through Quetta. In fact, Imran Tahir took a hat-trick to end the innings with some truly over the top celebrations on show.
While the highlight reel will be dominated by Imran Tahir, the match was set up by Sohail Tanvir and Junaid Khan. Even Mohammad Irfan bowled a tight line to curtail the run-scoring ensuring that Quetta never had any easy runs.
The match was over after the first half but Kumar Sangakkara scored another fifty to put the exclamation mark. The Sri Lankan now has 177 runs from just four innings and is absolutely bossing the bowling attacks.
His form at the top is a huge plus for the Multan Sultans. The team would also have been glad to see Ahmed Shahzad and Sohaib Maqsood score some runs. Shehzad continued to score at a strike rate of 77 but Sohaib Maqsood was more assertive during his stay at the crease.
We really think that Ahmed Shehzad at the top of the order is over-rated and will end up harming his team more than help them, particularly while batting first.
The Multan Sultans are looking very well settled with Sangakkara at the top and Shoaib Malik in the middle to put out any fires. Kieron Pollard is a bit of a hit and miss in these conditions but he and Darren Bravo make for a very strong middle order.
The Multam Sultans know that this match will be up against a dangerous batting team and so their own batsmen must step up to the task as well. The match may well be decided between the Multan Sultan’s bowling and the Quetta Gladiators batting but their own batsmen have a very important role to play.
Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, S Badar, S Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan.
We are moving back to Dubai for the next few group matches. The break would have given some time to the groundsmen to be able to work on the pitches and refresh them a little. There was a decent amount of bounce on offer and Dubai definitely offered more pace to the players to work with.
The weather has been predicted to be sunny and clear for the upcoming match.
These are two of the strongest teams in the competition going head to head. They have some strengths but also some apparent weaknesses that can be targeted. We think that Multan Sultans with their superior bowling attack is a better chance to win in this match, though.